The United States, for the first time since 1981, swept the foursomes portion of the Ryder Cup, sending a strong message to the Europeans that this year’s edition of the biennial event will have a different outcome from most of the recent ones.
Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth drew first blood in Friday morning’s foursomes when Spieth drilled a birdie putt on the second hole. A few hours later, the duo then went on to clobber Henrik Stenson and Justin Reed, 3&2, when Reed holed a lengthy birdie putt on the 16th to put the first red points on the board.
First win of the day for https://t.co/Ty0j6aUgaR— Ryder Cup USA (@RyderCupUSA) September 30, 2016
"We had a great game plan coming in and we stuck with it," Reed told Golf Channel after their convincing victory. "We were lucky enough to hit a lot of greens and have good looks."
In a must-win tournament for the home team, which has lost three Ryder Cups in a row and eight of the last 10, the Americans took it to the Europeans in a big way, winning all four matches in the morning session.
Among the winners, Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar walloped Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters, 5&4.
"This guy’s playing so good I think anybody could partner with him and have great success," Matt Kuchar said of DJ, the reigning U.S. Open champion who has been on fire.
So much for Westwood’s pre-tourney prediction that Tiger Woods, who mentored Kuchar, Johnson, Reed, and Spieth in his pod, might have an "adverse effect" on Team USA. We’re guessing skipper Davis Love III will take that "adverse effect" all day long.
The other two matches also went to the home team. Jimmy Walker and Zach Johnson dispatched Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer, 4&2.
Even Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler, who had an adventurous front nine, rebounded from 2-down with four to play to defeat Rory McIlroy and Andy Sullivan, 1-up.
"It was a match where I felt more pressure in any Ryder Cup than I felt heading into this one because of the last two years and the buildup," said Mickelson, who came under fire for dissing 2004 Ryder Cup captain Hal Sutton after doing the same to Tom Watson two years ago at Gleneagles. "I played a little bit tight."
Given all the turmoil and trouble that the USA has had in the Foursomes alternate shot format, the 4-0 lead is an incredible outcome for Davis Love III. Your results after the opening session at Hazeltine.
8:35 a.m.: Justin Rose & Henrik Stenson (EUR) vs. Jordan Spieth & Patrick Reed (USA) -- USA WINS, 3&2
8:50 a.m.: Phil Mickelson & Rickie Fowler (USA) vs. Rory McIlroy & Andy Sullivan (EUR) -- USA WINS, 1-UP
9:05 a.m.: Sergio Garcia & Martin Kaymer (EUR) vs. Jimmy Walker & Zach Johnson (USA) -- USA WINS, 4&2
9:20 a.m.: Dustin Johnson & Matt Kuchar (USA) vs. Thomas Pieters & Lee Westwood (EUR) -- USA WINS, 5&4